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about yoga

Yoga as it is generally practiced around the world is called Hatha Yoga and was formalized by the sage Patajali in his work the Yoga Sutras. Patanjali is therefore known as the Father of Yoga. Yoga has been practiced in India since the days of the Indus civilization. It is about 5000 years old. Yoga is a philosophy in itself, and can do amazing things to the practitioner’s wellbeing. Yoga incorporates the mental and physical form.

Today's routines are built up with pressures and conflicts. There is discord in the body (Physical), mind (Mental), and Spirit (Spiritual) -the basic 3 aspects of human body. All sickness is the effect of such degeneration of these three. Hatha Yoga comprises of a chain of postures or “asana”, which provide suppleness to the body and tones its muscles. The blend of different asanas can provide a total exercise and provide both physical and mental recreation. The meditation and mental discipline as well as the breathing exercises of Yoga are a vital part of the practice of Yoga. The Ashtanga Yoga devised by Guru Patanjali is a whole plan for the holistic development of an individual.

One accomplishes selfless form with years of practice. It is achieved by 8 fold yogic practice.

1. Yama - (Disciplined Behavior)
2. Niyama - (Self Purification)
3. Asana - (Bodily Posture)
4. Pranayama - (Breathe control)
5. Pratyahara - (Sensual control)
6. Dharana - (Concentration)
7. Dhyana - (Meditation)
8. Samadhi - (Absolute state of tranquility and eternity)
YAMA

A yama literally a "restraint", is a rule or code of conduct for living virtuously. The yamas comprise the "shall-nots" in our dealings with the external world. Ten Yamas are codified as "the restraints" in numerous scriptures including the Shandilya and Varaha Upanishads, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha, and the Tirumantiram of Tirumular

NIYAMA

Niyama is a set of behaviors codified as "the observances" in numerous scriptures including the Shandilya and Varuha Upanishads, Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha, the Tirumantiram of Tirumular and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. They comprise the "shall-do" in our dealings with the inner world, and Swami Vivekananda describes them as the second step of Raja yoga.

ASANA

Asana is Sanskrit for "posture". The plural is used to describe yoga postures; "posture" in this context refers not only to the physical position of the body, but to the position of the spirit in relation to divinity. This idea is often referred to as the "one seat", by yogis and Buddhists alike. Asanas of yoga are also called Yogasana or Yogaasana. Modern usage of the word "asana" in reference to the practice of yoga generally refers to a physical posture or pose.

PRANAYAMA

Pranayama is a Sanskrit word often translated as control of the life force (prana). When used as a technical term in yoga, it is often translated more specifically as "breath control. Literal translations include A. A. Macdonell's "suspension of breath" and I. K. Taimni's "regulation of breath".

PRATYAHARA

Pratyahara is the fifth element among the Eight stages of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga. At this stage, the consciousness of the individual is internalized in order that the sensations from the senses of taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell don't reach their respective centres in the brain. With this, the Sadhaka, or disciple, is free to meditate without distractions.

Apart from Pranayama, another device that is used to aid in the development of Pratyahara is to concentrate on the point between the eyebrows. This location is known as Ajna Chakra or the third eye.

DHARANA

Dharana is a Sanskrit term from the verbal root dhri to hold, carry, maintain, resolve; and it is the sixth stage, step or limb of eight elucidated by Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga or Raja Yoga. Dharana may be translated as "holding", "holding steady", "concentration" or "single focus". The prior limb Pratyahara involves withdrawing the senses from external phenomena. Dharana builds further upon this by refining it further to ekagrata or ekagra chitta, that is single-pointed concentration and focus, which is in this context cognate with shamata.

DHYANA

Dhyāna in Sanskrit or Jhāna in Pāli refers to a type or aspect of meditation. It is a key concept in Hinduism and Buddhism. Equivalent terms are "Chán" in modern Chinese, "Zen" in Japanese, "Seon" in Korea, and Samten in Tibetan. Dhyāna's beginnings are traced to Hinduism, where it is considered to be an instrument to gain self knowledge, separating maya from reality to help attain the ultimate goal of Moksha.

SAMADHI

Samadhi is a Hindu and Buddhist term that describes a non-dualistic state of consciousness in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still (one-pointed or concentrated) though the person remains conscious. Sahaj samadhi is the effortless and continual state of perfection of a satguru. It is the eighth and final limb of the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, and comprises the pinnacle of achievements in Samyama, the three-tiered practice of meditation including also dharana and dhyana.

Yoga movements are done gently in peaceful state with correct mental manner stimulated by proper breathing tempo. By practicing Yoga, one has an absolute control over his body - physical and mental. It boosts the effectiveness of the heart & slows the respiratory rate, lowers blood pressure, mental relaxation, reduces stress, strain, relieves anxiety etc.